‘Very optimistic’: Playoff Sammy could return for Super Bowl LV

Chiefs

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Chiefs wide receiver Sammy Watkins has been nursing a calf injury since the fourth quarter of week 16 against the Atlanta Falcons.

With just a few days left before Super Bowl LV, he said he is feeling optimistic to see the field on Sunday.

“Still working out with training staff just going over everything so I can have a chance and possibly go out there and feel 100 percent, or 95, or 85 or wherever I get at by Sunday,” Watkins said. “Feeling pretty good, very optimistic been having good practices, so hopefully I can go out there and have fun and play.”

Watkins ended the 2020 season with 421 yards and two touchdowns in 10 games. Chiefs offensive coordinator Eric Bieniemy said a healthy Watkins makes them better and adds to the wide receiver group.

“It’s always good to have Sammy around. When Sammy’s healthy and he’s at his best, we’re a much better team,” Bieniemy said. “All those guys do a great job of challenging each other. That’s the thing I love and respect about that group.”

When it comes to the playoffs, Watkins’ production takes on a whole new level.

In five playoff games with Kansas City, Watkins averages 92.8 yards per game, up from 47.4 in the regular season.

In 2018, he averaged 96 yards per game in two playoff games and 88 yards last year including 98 yards on five receptions in the Super Bowl.

“He was the number one pick for receivers in our 2014 draft class. That was a really good choice,” Tampa Bay Buccaneers wide receiver Mike Evans said. “He’s explosive, physical, really good hands, can run routes. He doesn’t have many weaknesses. He can go deep, yards after catch and be physical. He just had some misfortune with injuries.”

Watkins’ playoff performances have been missing this year as he recovers from his injury, but he said that as long as the team is winning, stats do not matter.

“I love to win. Why we play this game is to win Super Bowls,” Watkins said. “It’s not for stats, it’s not for fame, it’s not for myself to go out there and care about stats [or] catching balls. It messes up the person that I am when I focus on that.”

His drive to win has helped him mature on and off the field allowing him to control his ego.

“I put my teammates first and I want to win. I think earlier in my career I wasn’t like that,” Watkins said. “I was that guy that wanted the ball even if we were losing. I wanted the ball every time.”

After earning a ring in Super Bowl LIV, he is looking to add to that legacy with a back-to-back championship in Super Bowl LV.

“I could have been on any other team getting 1,000 yards and losing, and the perspective here is that I’m on a great team and I’m winning,” Watkins said. “When I look back at it, if I take a job, ESPN or whatever it is, I can say I have two or three rings and I have that to back it up.”

Watkins will head into the offseason as a free agent and said it is not out of the realm of possibility for him to return to the Chiefs to continue their dynastic run. He said he will speak with his family before making any decision, but right now is focused on becoming a champion for the second consecutive year.

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